Parents say college for children with complex mental health needs has ‘changed their lives for the better’

The behaviour and attitudes of staff teaching young people at the on-site college of a psychiatric hospital has been praised for being ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

The Government watchdog recently took part in an unannounced inspection of St Andrew’s College which provides education in a secure setting and is located on the Billing Road mental health site in Northampton.

There are currently 22 students aged between 13 and 19 who attend the college full-time. They are also patients at St Andrew’s Healthcare hospital which means they all have complex mental health conditions.

The inspection took place between Tuesday, June 29 and Thursday, July 1, 2021. The report has just been issued and the college has been rated ‘Good’ overall and ‘Outstanding’ for behaviour and attitudes.

Headteacher Cheryl Smith said: “To be awarded ‘Outstanding’ in behaviour and attitudes, considering the type of service we are, is a huge achievement. It demonstrates how hard we work to support our learners, ensuring they feel safe and respected. The relationships between our staff and students is very strong and this compassion and support is key to our trauma informed approach.

“This enables us to look at each learner as an individual, allowing them to work at their own pace and on a programme of education that meets their own needs. We walk their recovery journey alongside them, supporting them to achieve as much as possible as they develop as a person.

“I am extremely proud of our team and would like to thank each and every member of staff for their hard work, commitment and passion for the job they do.”

The Ofsted report said that parents of the young students were “positive” about the education their children were receiving and that they believed the college had “changed their children’s lives for the better”. The inspectors also stated that students’ behaviour when in school is “exceptional” and they are “respectful, calm and enthusiastic to learn”.

Chair of the co and CEO of St Andrew’s Healthcare Katie Fisher (pictured) said: “Cheryl and her team have worked tirelessly to create a calm, caring environment within the college. Our highly-skilled and patient staff combine well-established and structured routines with positive reinforcement which has given our pupils the confidence and ability to focus on their education.

“Our students’ personal development is also a high priority and I’m glad that Ofsted identified this. We have a high attendance rate and if the pupils are not well enough, our teachers deliver lessons to them on the wards. I’m extremely proud of what has been achieved at our college and I’m so pleased that Cheryl and her staff have received the praise that they truly deserve.”

 

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